How to Design & Print Shirts from Home

by Shanika Chapman ; Updated September 28, 2017

Do you often come up with cool ideas or designs for shirts? Nowadays, it doesn't take much to make your own tee shirt, and iron-on paper is a cheap and easy way to personalize any shirt. With some creativity, a printer, some iron-on paper and an iron, you can design and create a shirt in minutes for less than $20. If you've got more than one idea, you may even consider turning it into a business.

Purchase blank tee shirts or tank tops at Michaels or Wal-Mart if you don't have any lying around the house.

Purchase iron-on transfer paper for either an inkjet or laser printer, depending on what you have. Visit to view a selection.

Select the software you will use to create your design or phrase. If you already own Photoshop, Illustrator or CorelDRAW, you can use these to design your image. Free manipulation programs that you can use include GIMP and Paint. If you don't have a design, visit for dozens of transfer designs. You may need to flip your image, depending on your iron-on paper.

Print your finished design on a piece of test paper. Adjust the size and colors accordingly. Continue to test your adjustments on regular paper since it is much cheaper than iron-on paper. Once you are satisfied with your design, place the sheet of iron-on paper in your printer and print and then cut out your design.

Turn on your iron. Place your tee shirt on a hard surface. Follow the directions listed with your iron-on paper. When your iron is hot, put it over the transfer paper and the overlay. Apply light pressure to get your iron-on in place. Then apply more pressure in a straight, nonstop motion. Allow your tee shirt to cool. Touch up portions if necessary.


  • Don't wash your shirt for at least 24 hours.

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About the Author

Shanika Chapman has been writing business-related articles since 2009. She holds a Bachelor of Science in social science from the University of Maryland University College. Chapman also served for four years in the Air Force and has run a successful business since 2008.